When We Accept What Is

We usually mosey into relationships seeing their obvious possibilities, imagining specified outcomes, cocooning them with our own expectations.

But what actually occurs is often shockingly different from what we expected.

 The person you wanted to marry has a phobia about commitment. The woman you knew would make a great mother decides to go off to law school.

The suitor with the bottomless trust fund decides to give away all his money and live in a cave. Surprising revisions can happen on even at the simplest levels: “When I fell in love with him, he was wearing a black cashmere sweater and a pair of black dress pants; but after I married him, all he would wear was sweatshirts, his favorite sports hats and jeans.”

Expectations come in two forms: general and specific. General expectations have to do with our dreams and plans for a specific relationship that it will lead to marriage, that it will bring you children, that it will make you “happy.” Specific expectations have to do with what we think we can count on day-to-day – he’ll take out the trash, she’ll handle the kids in a way I approve of. On one level, these expectations are all quite reasonable;  it’s appropriate to have long-range plans and goals, and it’s legitimate to expect specific kinds of participation from your partner.

But when your relationship becomes a litany of failed expectations— what you hoped for but didn’t get—– its time to look at what’s happening from an entirely different perspective. Perhaps, instead of needing to “communicate better” or “negotiate your differences” on an emotional level, you’re being asked, on a spiritual level, to learn to accept what is.

Accepting — finding a way to be comfortable with things as they are—- is actually a very developed spiritual state. It means that you’re relinquished the preconceptions of your ego and surrendered to what’s been given to you. Maybe he’s not the provider you hoped for, but his spiritual strength is a constant inspiration; perhaps she’s not the housekeeper you wanted, but the way she nurtures your children is absolutely beautiful.

Acceptance allows your spirit to grow. When you’re able to recognize the little  miracles and great lessons that replace your expectations, you suddenly discover that what you hoped for— was pitifully puny compared to what was actually held in store for you. And in a way far more complex and elegant than you could have imagined, your life is following a sacred design. 

 So if you want a life that is larger than life and a relationship that is finer than even your wildest hopes, peel back your expectations and start to accept the good in what is.  (This only applies to mentally stable people.)

A Dream Is The Belief That You Can

Sometimes all you need to achieve a dream is the belief that you can, the resolve that you will, and the plan to make it happen.

When you have a dream and you can create a dream map that will help you make your dreams come true. There are many books written with exercises and resources with the goal of helping us to attain our goals and making our dreams come true. 

Our dreams whether they are dreams we have at night or the hopes and aspirations we have for our lives represent some of the most profound, protected and precious parts of ourselves. When we share them we immediately create intimacy because they are so private. Images from our sleep are a map of our unsuspected and uncensored selves they are messages to us from the deepest reaches of our unconscious. In the enigmatic language of our own private symbols and they can reveal the secrets we keep even from ourselves.

Telling your sweetheart your dreams is an act of self-revelation for in opening the door to your unconscious in this way you are allowing your partner to meet you at a special unguarded place, the place of magic that is often beyond common sense or even words. Whether or not your dreams make perfect sense to you or your partner ( and you don’t have to be Sigmund Freud to receive at least some of their meanings), being given a  view of your partners through this mysterious looking-glass is to be taken in to his or her spiritual privacy.

The same is true of the dreams that are our aspirations for in revealing our hopes and longings, we are at once most exalted and most vulnerable. In speaking of what we desire, we also reveal how we can be disappointed.

The fact that you always wanted to be a ballerina (and can’t even walk across the livingroom without banging into the wall) is something you don’t want everyone to know, but telling your partner is a way of opening up a sensitive part of yourself for nurturing.

None of us can live out all our dreams. Life isn’t long enough. And all we have more talents than time to explore them in. Although at the same level we realize that as my mother used to say. “You can’t do everything,” there is also a sense of loss attached to letting go of even our most ridiculous or offbeat dreams.

 When we share our unfulfilled dreams we are asking our loved ones to meet us un a place of vulnerability where we can be apprehended not only for who we are but also for who we would like to have been.

Revealing your dreams is an act of trust and it means you believe that the person who loves you desires to see you in your secret essence without being horrified or ashamed without making fun of you. It means you believe you can share your innermost secrets and that the person you love will still be there to comfort and love you unconditionally without judging you.

Escaping Memories…

 There is no escaping the memories of our life even if we want to or at least no escaping them for long, even the times when we don’t want to remember. In one sense the past is dead and gone, never to be repeated, over and done with, but in another sense, it is of course not done with at all or at least not done with us.

 Every person we have ever known, every place we have ever seen, everything that has ever happened to us somewhere whether, we like it or not the memories are there waiting for us.

 Sometimes it doesn’t take much to bring them back to the surface in bits and pieces. The words in a song that was popular years ago. A book we read as a child. A stretch of road we use to travel. An old photograph, an old letter, an old hallmark card. And don’t forget the good, bad, and ugly ones that come rushing back like an uninvited guest who just won’t leave.

There is no telling what trivial thing may do it, and then suddenly there it all is something that happened to us once. And it is not just as a picture on the wall to stand back and gaze at but as a reality, we are so much a part of still. Sometimes we feel a memory with the feelings something close to the original intensity and freshness of it. 

 Remember what it felt like to fall in love for the first time? It doesn’t matter how many years ago it was the memories come rushing back and our senses come alive again. We smell the smells, hear the sounds of laughter, we feel the love and feel the tears that ran down our checks when we remember how that love ended so many years ago. Times too beautiful to forget and too terrible to remember. 

 Memories come at us helter-skelter and unbidden, sometimes so thick and fast that they are more than we can handle in their poignant, sometimes so sparsely that we all but cry out to remember more.  Sometimes a dream seems to say more than that, to speak of a different kind of memory and to speak of remembering in a different kind of way. The kind of memories I have been naming are memories that come and go more or less on their own and apart from any choice of our own. Things remind us, and the power is in the things’, not our power. On the other hand we can gain power over our memories and how they affect us.

 We are all such escape artists you and I we don’t like to get too serious about things, especially about ourselves. When we are with other people, we are apt to talk about almost anything under the sun except for our own lives, except for what is going on in our own skins. We pass the time of day with endless chat, chat, chat, (emailing, texting, and, messaging).

We hold people at bay, keep our distance from them even when we know it’s not what we want. And it’s the same thing when we are alone. Let’s say it’s late evening and everybody else has gone away or gone to bed. The time is ripe for looking back over the day, the week, the year, and trying to figure out where you have come from and where you are going to, for sifting through the things you have done and the things you have left undone for a clue to who you are for better or worse. 

We turn on the television and check our emails or read a book.  We find some chore to do that could easily wait for the next day. We cling to the present out of wariness of the past. We cling to the surface out of fear of what lies beneath the surface. You may be thinking, ” Nobody know the trouble I’ve seen,” and of course nobody knows the trouble you’ve had. Nobody knows the hurt, the sadness, the bad mistakes, the crippling losses but you.

Don’t forget the happiness you’ve seen too. The precious times, the precious people, the moments in your life when you were better than you knew how to be. Nobody knows that either, but you do.  We are to remember it. And then, if your dream was really a true dream, you will find it,  beyond any feelings of joy or regret that one by one the memories give rise to, a profound and undergirding peace, a sense that is some unfathomable way all is well.

 You have survived and maybe that is at the heart of your remembering after twenty years, forty years, sixty years or eighty, you have made it to this year, this day. Each of us must speak for ourselves, you may have seen so much sorrow and enough pain to turn your heart to stone. Who hasn’t?  Many people can tell you that they have chosen the wrong road, or the right road for the wrong reason.

You may have loved the people in your life too much for either their good or yours. You might have loved with the devices and desires of your own heart, as the old prayer goes, yet often when your heart called out to be brave, to be kind, to be honest, to be loving, to be generous, you may have not followed this prayer and lost at love.

To remember your life is to remember countless times when you might have given up, gone under, when humanly speaking you might have gotten lost beyond the power to find you but you didn’t. You haven’t given up and with all the memories you have and the tales you could tell, you are a survivor and are here. And what does that tell us, about surviving? It tells us that weak as we are, a strength beyond our strength has pulled us through at least this far, at least to this day.

Foolish as we are, a wisdom beyond our wisdom has flickered up just often enough to shed its light and show us the right path through the forest, at least to path that leads forward, that is bearable. Faint of heart as you can be, a love beyond your own power has kept your heart alive. Is there away to escape memories? I wonder…

Leave The Kitchen Sink In The Kitchen When You Fight

When you fight leave the kitchen sink in the kitchen. What that means is don’t just gratuitously throw in things that don’t belong in the current fight. Such as every complaint you’ve ever had since the history of time began something corroded and calcified from ten years ago, or the meanest below-the belt thing that you can possibly think of saying.

Kitchen-sink behavior isn’t profitable. It doesn’t do anything except fan the flames of contention and open an abyss of panic and pain for you partner. Once you’ve gotten the satisfaction of watching the kitchen sink fly by and crash into a wall, you may have a hard time cleaning up afterwards.

So no matter what you’re so furious about try to resist the temptation to let it all out or to let the devil take the hindmost. It’s important to stop and think before you let the other person have it. You might want to stop and ask yourself these questions.

 Do I really need to say this? This is, does this horrible, angry, vituperative, and character-blasting thing really need to be said?  Will it improve the immediate situation? Is there anything useful to be gained from saying extreme statements?  Such as your sex life is awful now and it has been for the past ten years? Will this or similar remarks speed up the other person’s growth and maturity or your own, or is saying it just the indulgence of revved-up emotions that want release?

  Do I really need to say that now?  The diatribe you wants to indulge in some very valuable points that really need to be expressed stop and think is this the time to make them? Will you set off a furor or engender a useful response?

Before you fire your verbal machine gun it’s important to investigate the maturity of your emotions output.  Just because you feel like saying something doesn’t mean it has to be said in the way or exactly the moment that you feel like saying it. Remember your relationship will last rather than erode or be destroyed it’s all in the words that you speak it’s up to you.

If You Swore To Love For Life Once Why Do It Again

If you swore to love for life once why do it again? If you had to do it all over again would you could you? A promise is a promise right? If you swore to love for life once why do it again?

Your first response could be why not? What harm could it do? Is it the vow its self that is the question? Ah, there’s the rub.

You walked down the aisle together once and it was a great day; so great that it could never be repeated and the knot you tied that day became a gnarl of attachments: Kids, deeds, photo albums, possessions galore so how could you ever part?

Do you ever ask yourself if you had to do it all over again would you? That’s the question that begs answering when second or third wedding vows are on the horizon. If the answer is yes then sure say “I do, I do, I do.” If the answer is “I don’t know,” then don’t ignore this warning sign your feelings for each other will have changed over the years; that’s only natural. But would you describe those feelings as being love?

Even if you don’t hate each other do you love one another? I’m not saying that if you’re not at a point where you wouldn’t hesitate to renew your wedding vows that you should split apart. Only that maybe you shouldn’t ignore the state of your relationship. You and your partner might want to seek professional help about your relationship so that the next time you’re asked this question, you will both say yes.

A few years ago my Aunt and Uncle went on a Valentine’s Day Cruise along with eight hundred couples to renew their marriage vowsWhen the eight hundred couples were asked if they planned on renewing their wedding vows in the future they all said, “Yes.”

 When the youngest couple in the group asked my aunt and uncle if renewing their wedding vows was their secret to their loving relationship?  They said, it makes for a very romantic day but they believed it’s what they do for each other the other 364 days that really renews those vows and keeps the relationship on solid ground. Then they were asked how many years had they been married? My Aunt and Uncle smiled and said, a short sixty years and that they renewed their wedding vows every twenty years.

My Aunt said that my Uncle held her hand and gazed into her eyes and said, he was looking forward to the next time. The other seven hundred and ninety-nine couples tenderly smiled at each other as they realized that when you love your partner renewing your wedding vows is a loving way to express one more time to them that they are the only one for you.

Friendships Are Like Gold

Friendships are like gold even though Friends may not spend time gazing into each others eyes they do show great tenderness toward each other

Friends like gold face in the same direction toward common projects, interests, hobbies, goals, and all the ups and downs that life brings their way.  Above all they enjoy friendships that are deep-rooted in trust

 Few sounds on earth can compare with the sound of friends laughing. Hearty laughter is oil in the engine of friendship: With laughter, things run smoothly; without it, the gears have a tendency to grind. A loyal friend laughs at your jokes when they’re not so good and sympathizes with your problems when they’re not so bad. Herein, we consider the joys of a good laugh and the blessings of a good friend with whom to share it.

 Trusted friends know when laughing is the last thing on our minds. Sometimes, we fall prey to worry, frustration, anxiety, or sheer exhaustion…and our hearts become heavy. What’s needed is plenty of rest, a large dose of perspective, a heaping helping of faith, and the encouraging words of a trusted friend…but not necessarily in that order. A trusted friend is someone you can share all your sorrows with and your joys.  Anyone who has experienced a life long friendship knows this statement is true.

Our friends and loved ones provide some of life’s greatest delights, but the pleasures of friendship are never delivered on a one-way street. In order to gain friendship we must first give it away. Friendship is reciprocal; no one feels it who does not at the same time give it. We feel it when we see our friends and loved ones, they smile, you smile, their face brightens up, your face brightens up … you have struck gold!

A Little Kid Humor

 Kids are taking over the world and I’m not talking about all the doctors, policemen, politicians, and attorneys who seem to be getting younger and younger every year. I’m talking about children. Real children.

More specifically, toddlers they could be your nieces and nephews, your grandchildren, your neighbor’s kids, or in some cases, even your own children.

  Sure, they seem innocent enough sitting there in their car seats or on the floor playing quietly with their toys but it’s all a ruse.

They have an agenda, they’re committed, and they’ve outsmarted us for years. Everything they do is to advance their plan to take over the world, and its time someone blew their cover. First, I’m not sure how they did it , but somehow these little kids have managed to take control of our television set. Instead of watching our favorite news programs or the History Channel, we find ourselves caving in to their desires and watching kids programs for hours on end with them. 

Granted we do get involved in their T.V. programs and sometimes even catch ourselves laughing out loud with the kids.

 I have to admit that I find myself watching “The Cat In The Hat” with out the kids.

I wonder, has anyone ever played these children’s shows theme songs backward to see if they’re sending subliminal messages to the adult world?  Messages like: “you will let me play ball in the house” “You will take me to Chuch E. Cheese’s”. “You will give me an advance on my inheritance.” “You’ll let me braid your hair in little braids and paint your toenails fluorescent pink.”

Phase two apparently happened while many of us middle-agers were taking naps. These innocent-looking children somehow convinced pharmaceutical companies of the need for our medicine bottles to come with childprood caps. Caps, I might add, that only children can open. Now on the surface, childproofing medicine bottle probably sounded like a great idea, and I do not doubt for a minute that the staff at the FDA had plenty of reputable facts to convince the agency to jump on board with the seemingly beneficial plan.

But the FDA wasn’t looking into the future to see where this action would take us as a society. ” I need my high blood  medication, Lucas,” Nana says. “Can you come over here and open this blasted thing open for me? ” Sure, Nana, as soon as you tell them the password to your safe deposit box.” These children are the same ones who also hide our glasses, car keys, wallets, and the remote control, and then merely giggle, clam up, or speak gibberish when we try to interrogate them about the missing items. “Where are my keys, Lucas?” “Algagoa.” Come on, Lucas, tell Nana where you put them.” “Dimofogu.” gibberish, gibberish, gibberish is all they will say.

Their resistance to these inquisitions would impress military experts worldwide. Both the FBI and CIA have tried to decipher their secret code, but it’s unbreakable. We’re headed for trouble, people. Just think about it who gets the power seat at the dinner table? The high chair? (see even the name sounds commanding.)  Who’s responsible for that incessant pounding on the metal trays the would make even the toughest grandparent shout out every password to every account they’ve ever owned? These toddlers, that’s who.

Remember the good ol’ days when children used to be at the mercy of adults when it came to their mobility? They either rode in a stroller or we carried them. That, too has changed. These days, kids have their own battery-operated cars to putt around in. They’re eighteen months old, and they’re already know how to drive. What’s worse, we’re probably the ones they persuaded to buy these vehicles for them.

Which brings me to their incredible business sense these youngsters are nothing short of financial geniuses. Think about it. They come to our homes selling candy for their schools and youth organizations, then they return on Halloween and take it all back! Has anyone done the math on this?

I’m telling you their hostile takeover has been planned right under our noses and we’ve been too blinded by their cuteness to see it. They’ve been holding high-level security meetings in play groups all over the world. Sure, it all looks like innocent play to us, but it isn’t. It’s their version of Camp David. Why do you think there is always a child who holds that ear-piercing, high-pitched scream? You think it’s a tantrum? I used to think that, too.

These toddlers have their own cell phones, computers, play houses, tents, and emergency vehicles. What do they need us big people for? They’ve got almost everything required to run the world on their own. Except they may need someone to change their diapers or find their pull ups.

The most amazing thing about this is how these little ones have managed to get us to run their publicity campaigns for them, and we’ve been doing it pro bono. “You want to see some pictures of the most beautiful grandchild on earth?”  “You think she’s beautiful, look at these pictures of my grandchildren.”

 All things considered maybe we’re just getting what we deserve after all these little ones have outsmarted us for years, manipulating us with their cute smiles and endearing hugs, while we’ve merely sat by and allowed it all to happen. But it’s not too late no matter how cute they are we cannot continue to roll over and let these kids take over. We can’t bury our heads and pretend we don’t know what they’re up to. It’s time we let them know once and for all whose is in charge here! It’s time we…

Sorry I had more to say but my grandson Jesse just gave me a hug and took off with my glasses and won’t give them back, so I can’t see the keys on my keyboard.  And so the conspiracy continues…